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Dartford v Barrow

 

Dartford will be pleased to return to Princes Park for their midweek fixture against relegation threatened Barrow.

On a ten match unbeaten run at home in all competitions the Darts have found opponents in the bottom half of the table difficult. When the two sides last met at Holker Street in October, Dartford recorded there only 0-0 draw in this season’s Conference Premier campaign. The long journey to Cumbria ended in Tony Burman’s side grinding out a point to bring home from the north west.

Another trip north west on Saturday was not quite as successful when the Darts failed to score on the road for the seventh time in the league. Their struggling opponents Hyde managed to breach the Dartford defence on three occasions to move five points clear of Barrow.

Up until half time the Darts were still in with a shout despite falling behind to a Scott Hogan goal. The home side took the initiative against their lacklustre visitors when Matthew Blinkhorn and Louis Almond sealed a much needed victory for the Tigers. With Woking adding to AFC Telford United’s 24 game winless streak and Cambridge United beating Grimsby Town, the Darts dropped to twelfth.

Barrow threw away a goal advantage on the weekend and suffered a last minute blow leaving Dave Bayliss’ side in trouble. Bluebirds top scorer Adam Boyes netted his twelfth of the season from six yards at Edgar Street to give the visitors the lead. Fourteen minutes later Barrow’s Sean McConville stopped a goalscoring opportunity and was sent off, Joshua O’Keefe put Hereford United level from the spot. Brian Smikle’s injury time winner for the Bulls left the Bluebirds third from bottom and three points from safety.

Defeat on the road leaves Barrow looking for their first away win in the Conference Premier in six attempts, the Cumbrian’s have picked up two points out of the last fifteen available. Defensively only Ebbsfleet United have conceded more and on three occasions Barrow have shipped in five goals or more on their travels  (1-6 v Luton Town, 1-8 v Mansfield Town and 2-5 v Southport). Despite their leaky defence the Bluebirds do have a better away record than home this season winning five, drawing five and losing nine.

A week ago after a ‘flat performance’ against Stockport County, manager Bayliss put his teams struggles down to inconsistency, speaking to www.barrowafc.com, he said: “We were fantastic against Forest Green yet with virtually the same players we go from that to perform like this. That’s why the players are at Barrow because they are so inconsistent”.

One consistency in the Barrow side is defender Michael Pearson who has started every league game this season. Partnering the number five is the experienced on loan Bury centre half Efetobore Sodje who has won a dozen Nigerian caps in his career. Richie Baker has chipped in with eight league goals from midfield in a side that has racked up the fewest in the division.

Team News

Lee Noble returned on Saturday coming off the bench at Hyde, the midfielder has completed his four match ban. Tom Champion still remains a booking away from suspension after picking up nine cautions this season.

Sean McConville’s handball on the weekend means he will be suspended. The 24 year old midfielder has made 21 league appearances this season, nine from the bench. Danny Rowe missed the weekend’s last minute defeat with a hamstring injury.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 3 / Barrow wins: 2 / Draws: 2 / Dartford goals: 7 / Barrow goals: 7

Current League Form

Dartford (LWDDWL) Barrow (LLDWLD)
Hyde A 0-3 Hereford United A 1-2
Wrexham H 2-1 Stockport County H 0-2
Stockport County H 1-1 Forest Green Rovers A 1-1
Southport A 2-2 Tamworth H 2-0
Luton Town H 1-0 Wrexham H 0-1
Lincoln City A 1-2 Lincoln City A 0-0

Last Meeting

13 October 2012 – Barrow 0 Dartford 0 – Att: 1278

The Bluebirds Lineup: Hurst, Flynn, Hessey, Pearson, Anderson, Baker, Harvey, Hunter, Rutherford, Boyes, Almond (subs used: Rowe, Jackson)

The Darts Lineup: Bettinelli, Burns, Bonner, Arber, Rose, Wallis, Rogers, Noble, Harris, Erskine, Collier (subs used: Hayes, Birchall, Crawford)

Match Stats

Previous Meetings

16.03.1986 Dartford 3 Barrow 2
23.11.1985 Barrow 1 Dartford 2
16.03.1985 Dartford 2 Barrow 0
08.09.1984 Barrow 0 Dartford 0
17.04.1982 Barrow 2 Dartford 0
29.08.1981 Dartford 0 Barrow 2

Stats

70 – The amount Barrow have conceded this season, only two more than the worst defence in the league. Away from home 42 goals have been shipped in, the same as Ebbsfleet United who have conceded the most.

12 – Barrow have failed to score on a dozen occasions in this season’s Conference Premier campaign

268 – The number of attempted shots at goal from Dartford this season, the lowest in the division. 56% of their shots have been on target the second highest ratio in the league.

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